I know it’s basically everywhere but I would like to share my “eating healthy top tips”, more than ever, people are realizing how many junk food they eat everyday. They become conscious that processed food can be a real problem in the long term, and moreover people tend to think that eating healthy means getting rid of all those yummy dishes they love so much. But what if you have no time to shop organic, to cook at home and follow this or that diet? My answer would be: don’t worry. There are no difficult-to-follow rules if you want to swap your diet to a more nutritious and healthier one, you just need the right tools and the right timing.
Eating healthy top tips 1:Avoid processed foods
We all know that processed foods are not good for us and they can be tricky. The secret is to look thoroughly the label of everything you buy. Even dietary food, or low-fat food can hide high quantity of sugar, corn syrup or fructose. Latest studies discovered that fructose is bad for our health even if it may sound natural. Dietary products are often filled with fructose instead of sugar, and a large consumption of these foods can rapidly induce insulin resistance, postprandial hypertriglyceridemia, and blood pressure, moreover it is a potential risk factor for fatty liver disease.
Moreover, knowing the “real” origin of processed food can be really hard and if you take a closer look to labels you will discover that sugar, preservatives, additives, colorants are the basic ingredients. Did you ever wonder why something you make at home may last 5 days and what you purchase at the grocery lasts up to 3 months? I guess there might be some differences..
So if you want to start eating healthy food, you might want to start taking a closer look at what you buy, and eat whole, healthy natural foods in their natural state.
Foods should be eaten in their natural state, fruit is a good example, when you eat the whole fruit you get the fructose but you also get the fibers and other nutrients that you don’t get when drinking a fruit juice, even one you make at home with you juicer. Whole grains are a good example too, flours nowadays may be extremely refined and then enriched with chemicals that helps with shelf life. Eating whole wheat flour, or wheat berries is surely better than consuming a white squishy white bread that keeps fluffy for ages.
Eating healthy top tips 2: Fats are important
Choosing the fats you use to cook and season your food is very important. There are many types of oils and fats, and some can be bad. Rapeseed oil, for instance, contains a high level of erucic acid that can cause many diseases. Vegetable oils are all made using chemicals to extract the oil from the seeds and nuts so I’d better avoid them. I usually do not use oil alone for stir frying or cooking, it’s better to add a little water to it to avoid burning, or you can use broth instead. Broth is very useful when it comes to cooking, I use it a lot in roasts and stews.
Extra virgin olive oil is definitely the best for salad dressing and to be eaten raw (olive oil is not the same, always look for Extra Virgin), when deep frying you should instead choose a saturated fat or a fat that has a high smoking point. I personally prefer ghee or coconut oil, and since saturated fats won’t change their structure when heated, as vegetable oils do, they are healtier than other options. I wouldn’t overdo with deep frying though, couple of times a month should be enough.
Reduce your overall consumption of fats in general, even if Extra Virgin Olive Oil is really important for our health you wouldn’t want to have large servings. A couple of spoons a day will suffice to reap the benefits.
Eating healthy top tips 3: Plant based
Eating a plant based diet means you mainly eat vegetables and fruits and animal products are limited to a few meals a week. There are really many ways to enjoy veggies and you should try to eat at least 5 serving of veggies and fruits per day. If you are able to buy organic at a cheap price it could be good, but if you do buy regular veggies and fruits just wash it very very carefully before eating and peel when needed (you can use baking soda dissolved in water, it’ll help removing excess dirt).
The real Mediterranean diet is based mainly on vegetables and legumes, just take a look at what centenarians eat (and always have): beans and pulses, vegetables, fruits – all in season – some cheese (from animals that graze greens on pastures) and occasionally some red wine.
Even thought fruit is good, I would recommend to eat it carefully as it may contain a lot of sugar in it. One thing you should be aware of is where the fruit comes from. Many places are known for boosting the growth of fruits (strawberry for example) with lots of additives and pesticides, this means you will eat all the stuff they use to grow it. Moreover, you should be informed of what is in season. Eating cherry in december (at least in my country) may not only cost a lot to your wallet but also to the planet’s health. If your fruits and veggies come from the other side of the world how could they possibly be fresh, healthy and natural?? Let alone their carbon footprint…
Cultured foods should be a staple in everyone’s house, they are not only tasty and versatile, but they are also a powerhouse for your gut health. Foods like home made sauerkrauts, kimchi, yogurt, kefir are incredibly easy to make and they can change your microbiome in a matter of days.
The last advice is to try to grow your own food. If you have some space you could try grow scallions (mine are amazing! they grow so fast even in small vases), spinach, basil, parsley, salad. This last is the easiest, you just need to sprinkle seeds in the vase and you will get little cut-and-come-again lettuce for months! Even if you can grow just a couple of herbs, go for it!
Eating healthy top tips 4: Invest in some tools
I’m sure the Manolo Blanik you’re wearing are awesome, and so it is for the Gucci bag you bought last year, but why do you care so much for you outfits and don’t think that spending money for a food processor could be worth it? Since I bought my first kitchen machine I’ve started to eat better and also spare some money. Nowadays machines are not that expensive, and you could buy one for less that 300$ all over the world, but they are the key to eat better and in no time. Mine also minces the meat, that is so useful to make burgers or meatballs with every kind of meat at home.
Making bread could be intimidating, but if you have one of these machines you can watch tv or do something else, while your fresh home made healthy bread is kneading. You’ll only need to put it into the oven when raised, doesn’t it sound great? Think carefully about what you like most and choose your machine following your needs. It will be a very useful and life changing gift!
The top three tools I would recommend are:
– A very good blender (that can blend to a paste nuts and seeds)
– A nice kitchen machine with some accessories
– A slow cooker
Eating healthy top tips 5: Prepare and cook in batches
Everyone knows that buying food in large batches is useful to save money, but if you are worried that what you bought can be easily go bad, cook more and then freeze it. Many of us have microwaves in the kitchen so, instead of using it for heating or cooking processed food full of junk, use it to defrost healthy meal you cooked for yourself. I know that not everything can be frozen but there are a lot of things you can prepare and store for those nights you’re coming home late from work and don’t want to cook. Do you want some examples?
VEGGIES: you can boil all kind of veggies, or stir-frying them and then freeze them in ziplock divided into servings.
MEAT: you can cook roasted meat, meat balls, burgers, or you can freeze them raw, seasoned and ready-to-cook.
FISH: fish can also be frozen raw or cooked, I love salmon and I’ve learned how to fillet it by myself so I can buy a whole fish (saving money) and prepare it for my needs, then freeze it, portioned.
Eating healthy top tips 6: Flour and Sugar
Flour is a staple food we eat everyday and we got to be careful which one we choose. Industrial white flour often comes from cultivation where lots of pesticides are used to increase production, and it is also super refined, so that in the end we only eat carbs without all the most important components that can make flour a super food. When the wheat arrives at the mill, it is still covered in all those amazing fibers contained in its outer layer, but to give people a white nice and shiny product, all those incredible nutrients are lost.
White flour make you gain weight, so you’d better choose a whole one in order to feel full early when eating and to take advantage of all the fibers that allow your body to loose weight or to stay fit.
It’s been two years since I decided to go almost sugarfree and it has changed my life completely. I keep on losing weight (slowly but steadily) and feel energized and great. It might be difficult in the beginning if you have a sweet tooth but in time you’ll learn how to get rid of that cravings. I was a sweets lover until I discovered that the more sugar I ate the more sugar I wanted to eat so I just decided that I hat to stop this circle.
Choose dates to sweeten your cakes or try cinnamon. Once you detox your body from sugar you will begin to notice how sugary some foods already are without feeling the need to add sugar.
Avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs! They are bad for your health and wreak havoc on you gut. Lately there are a lot of alternative sugar on the shelves of health food stores, but many can actually damage the microbiome as well. You should not totally give up sugar, just reduce your consumption to a maximum of 5 teaspoons a day, and choose maybe a good quality sugar, I find that pure maple syrup do well, is more sweet and is great for baking.